The best form of birth control for women is arguably the intrauterine device (IUD). It's put inside of a woman's uterus to keep pregnancy at bay. It's said to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, which is about as good as it gets. While it may not be the most popular birth control method, it still continues to gain more and more popularity.
But like every form of birth control, the IUD can't completely prevent pregnancy from happening. There may be a 0.1 to 0.2 percent chance of it happening (which equals two women getting pregnant out of 1000)- but that's all it takes for it to occur. If you fall pregnant despite using an IUD, you should know how it happened and what to expect.
According to medical experts, there are three ways that pregnancy can happen if you have an IUD. The first possibility is that it may not have been placed into your uterus properly. The second is that it was placed inside correctly, but your uterus contracting causes it to dislodge. You'll most likely notice this occurring if your IUD falls out or its strings don't feel quite right inside you. Finally, you may have a uterine abnormality that was originally missed by your doctor. But even if none of these scenarios happened to you and yet you find yourself pregnant, remember- the IUD doesn't prevent pregnancy 100 percent of the time.
So if you have an IUD and find yourself pregnant, what do you do? The first step is to visit your doctor to confirm that you're indeed pregnant. Missing your period doesn't necessaily mean you're pregnant; about half of women with an IUD don't get their period. So you'll want to pay attention to any abnormal pain or bleeding that may or may not be taking place. Your doctor will most likely remove your IUD as a result.
"People can get pregnant and if that happens, there can be significant complications, so they need to be on high alert just in case something like that should happen to them," explained Dr. Felice Gersh, MD, OB-GYN, and Director of the Integrative Medical Group.
But confirming your pregnancy is especially important because most that happen when you have an IUD are ectopic pregnancies, and that has the potential to be life-threatening. If this happens to you, you'll need medication and surgery in order to properly remove it. However, if it's not an ectopic pregnancy and instead a healthy one, you can carry the baby to term if you wish. But you should know that a pregnancy that occurs while you have an IUD inside you increases your likelihood of infection, miscarriage or preterm labor- even if the IUD is later removed.
So if you get an IUD and are sexually active, pay attention to your body. You can still get pregnant, which is why you need to be careful. It's best to be safe than sorry after all!